Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

This is a rerelease, as Sarina Bowen originally published this story under a different author name. I’d never heard of it so jumped right on the ARC when the email came through.

It’s the tale of Joshua and Caleb, two young men raised in a remote cult in Wyoming. The sort of place where the elders, the men who run the place and have all the power, take lots of wives, picking the prettiest teenagers as they become grown. And the kind of place where young men are of no use if they can’t keep up with the harsh field work. Which Joshua can’t.

He’s sensitive, and a daydreamer, seeing himself as weak and stupid when the opposite is true.

He’s been in love with best friend Caleb since forever, but homosexuality is a capital sin in the cult, and he hates himself for his thoughts. It’s so sad.

And here comes the crunch – the solution to dealing with young men who aren’t of use to the elders is to kick them out. Josh and Caleb have seen their friends disappear and were told of the crimes and sins they committed. Then one night Caleb crawls into Josh’s bed and whispers that he thinks Josh is going to be next.

The very next day, Josh is bashed over the head, driven six hours to the outskirts of the nearest town, and dumped in a field. All he has is a promise from Caleb that he’ll meet him in the bus station, but otherwise life has changed entirely for our dreamy boy.

Do you like runaway stories? I do. Josh obviously got slung out, but Caleb then ran away to escape the compound. They have a journey to make and there’s a nice bit of a road trip, also a favorite of mine, so they can get to the home of a previous runaway – a girl who is the sister of the teenager Caleb was meant to marry, until one of the elders claimed her.

They find the friend, Maggie, but can they let the girl stay left behind? Left to become the next wife for some perverted sweaty old fat guy? As they got farther and farther away, all I wanted was for them to get a bunch of ex-cult members to go save the young people who were stuck there.

But this is a story about their romance, their realization that actually being gay is just fine, and no one is going to get struck down.

The farm they live on is lovely, as is Maggie’s family that they integrate into. I liked watching their lives unfurl, but I still yearned for that vengeance, particularly when another event occurs at the cult.

There’s a book two following a different couple to come. I’ll hop on over to that too, when its release is ready. Maybe revenge will come there.

Rating: B

*ARC provided for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Goodbye Paradise
by Sarina Bowen
Re-Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books


  1. Fantastic review for a really wonderful book. I enjoyed Caleb and Josh sooooooo much ❤️❤️❤️ can’t wait to read her next book.

    • Glad you liked the review, Corina! Bowen creates wonderful characters, happy homes and gorgeous love. I’m really looking forward to the second book too. I want at least a modicum of revenge on the cult.

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